What I keep thinking about as a transportation professional can be summed up in my title. Technology is speeding along rapidly it seems. ITS is moving well beyond traffic cameras, dynamic signs and web sites with colored speed schemes. Telematics and GPS and Bluetooth, etc…are game changers in how ITS data is collected and disseminated. An entire suite of new safety applications are possible and are being researched. I am blessed to be a part of this at my company. However, I see a dark cloud on the horizon. Our federal government is deep in debt, states are deep in debt and traffic continues to be a problem. We have all these new ways to solve problems but I wonder sometimes how it will be paid for. What I always come back to is twofold. One, anything done in the traffic realm MUST show a cost benefit as soon as possible – an environmental benefit and/or a safety benefit is also to be expected. Two, we have to consider the cost of lost opportunity. if a city/region/state falls behind, that is going to further sink the economy. Tax increases are difficult to sell to the public. Vehicle Miles Tax is a novel idea but not the panacea to all ailments. In my opinion, what we will continue to see is toll roads, toll lanes, toll bridges, toll greenways, etc… One other concern that fits into all of this is the rapid increase of highway freight traffic. If nothing is done many of our main interstate routes are prone to be choked by caravans of heavy trucks. This will further decline the quality of our roads and the cycle continues. Georgia wants to create TOT (truck only toll) lanes but I wonder if that will ever fly. I want to leave on an encouraging note. My transportation engineering/consulting community has a bunch of smart, creative people who care and if anyone can come up with the solutions, it is my industry.